New era for Russia and Ukraine?

The atmosphere at Friday’s press conference with Medvedev and Yanukovich would have been hard to imagine with the Ukrainian’s predecessor, said RIA Novosti’s Dmitry Babich, but there is still cause for concern.

“If you look closely, there was nothing particularly new about what Mr. Yanukovich had to say,” Babich told RT. “He was very cautious. He did not [commit himself to] obligations. He did not promise to solve the gas problem tomorrow, he did not press for anything. He avoided saying when exactly he is going to cancel the decrees of former president Yushchenko, who made two people who collaborated with the Nazis Ukrainian heroes. So basically he did not [commit] himself in any way, but obviously, the atmosphere is much better. And I would not even imagine… a similar atmosphere between Putin and Yushchenko."

One of the key talking points for the two leaders on Friday’s meeting was stabilizing Russia and Ukraine's relations on gas.

Vyacheslav Mishchenko, from the Pace Global Energy Services, thinks there will be an improvement in the energy relations between Russia and Ukraine with Yanukovich now calling the shots in Kiev, adding that if Ukraine follows three key issues “to be transparent, to be consistent and to be reliable,” then positive changes will be seen in the nearest future, especially in the field of energy cooperation.

Mishchenko also noted that Ukraine’s role of middleman between Western Europe and Russia will remain in the sphere of gas, but there will be some reduction of its political influence in terms of gas supplies.

However, concerning its economical role, he said: “If Ukraine could prove that it is reliable and an economically attractive transit route, they will be okay with that.”

Watch full interview with Vyacheslav Mishchenko

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Fred Weir from the Christian Science Monitor told RT that Ukrainians are “sick and tired of the artificial geopolitical tensions between the country’s political powers.”

“For the past five years Ukraine has had to choose between the West and Russia,” he added. “Ukrainians don’t want it anymore – they want to be in a place where they can develop their relations in both directions in a free way.”

Watch full interview with Fred Weir

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Russian network news anchor Sergey Brilev does not consider Viktor Yanukovich to be a pro-Russian politician.

“Many people say that Mr. Yanukovich is a pro-Kremlin and a pro-Russian candidate. I would certainly disagree with that. He is so much more a Ukrainian politician,” Brilev told RT. “My idea is that in this new Kiev, in this new Ukraine, the new idea is of Ukraine not being pro-Russian or pro-European or pro-Western. They are trying to be sort of a bridge country that would use all the opportunities it’s gotten, play the two sides of what people call the divide – the Russian navy, the Russian language, the gas thing. Of course that’s three major topics. A lot will depend on how successful Mr. Yanukovich is in forming a new coalition in the parliament, because Ukraine is of course one of those unique countries which is a super presidential and a super parliamentary country, where all depends on the political will, not just the president but also the parliament.”

Watch full interview with Sergey Brilev

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